Archive | June, 2012

We live what we learn, then learn what we live…

27 Jun
learning to ride a bike - _MG_2933

learning to ride a bike – _MG_2933 (Photo credit: sean dreilinger)

You’ve heard the saying “We live what we learn” and the concept is truly how we raise our children in Western societies.  Parents and influencers teach us how to live based on their actions (and some of their words).  For our formative years, we live what we have learned, and often it is exactly as these people have taught us to live – by rules, customs, dogma, unspoken approval/disapproval.  Over time, our personalities emerge and either gel with our families – or they don’t (and we soon find out just how “disdainful” that might be!)

As adults, I believe the opposite thing happens.  When we are on our own in the world, living, loving, getting hurt, falling down, becoming successful, being disappointed, etc. – these ALL lead up to a series of New Learnings based on what we live.

While learning and growing is always a positive step – WHAT we learn is not necessarily so.

I have learned that the naive trust of others that I grew up with and carried through during many years of marital “bliss” was misguided.  Today, I no longer trust without verifying (a good thing) based on learning through life’s lessons.

I seldom get comments on my posts (maybe the content is solely my experience and isolated to my polarized view of life!) – but I’d love to hear what you’ve learned from your life!

In exchange, I offer you my list of adult learnings (and a + or – denotes whether this was a positive or negative discovery!)

  • The Royal We (me, myself and I) must come first, foremost and exclusively (except when small children are involved!) This is hardest for women, as we were taught to take care of the world (and everyone in it) before we take care of our own needs.   +
  • No one else can love me unconditionally except for me (and to expect anything else was folly). Self-love is the greatest love (thank you Whitney Houston)   +
  • Trust, but Verify – believe what others say at face value, but verify it with other sources.  Learn when someone deceives or violates your trust to verify before trusting again:  “fool me once, shame on you, but fool me twice —– SHAME ON ME!” +
  • Despite the traditional view that we “need” others, we come into the world alone, die alone, and traverse this life alone. We might “want” others, but we do not “need” others  +
  • “As for worrying about what other people might think – forget it. They aren’t concerned about you. They’re too busy worrying about what you and other people think of them.” – Michael le Boeuf   +
  • Alone and lonely are two different concepts. Alone = state of being solo.  Lonely is something that can happen even when surrounded by lots of people.  Alone does not equal lonely (and I am seldom lonely in the company of  the Royal We)  +
  • Never be a partner to anyone about whom you say “I hope I am never on their bad side” because eventually you WILL be!  +
  • Mean doesn’t go away.  (I mistakenly thought that cruelty was a learned behavior that can change.  Unfortunately, it is a character defect.) –
  • Never make anyone a priority for whom  you are only an option.  +
  • Become your own best friend – it is the best company you can ever find!  “Wherever you go, there you are!” +
  • Dating is an interview process – never ever settle for a second-rate candidate!  +
  • Make sure the Royal We (and your intuition) approves of your friends. +
  • Family (and friends) can be toxic to your health.  Life is too short to ingest poison.  –
  • Attitude trumps skill, looks, status, environment.  Always be positive! +
  • There are reasons that people from your past do not make it into your present or your future.  +
  • Never, ever waste a heartbeat on people who don’t matter.  +
  • Realize that a chance meeting with anyone on the street may be having a rough day – if you have a smile to share, do it! +
  • The Golden rule is a great theoretical rule for religion and children. People are far more selfish in practice.  –
  • Say no before saying yes to something that you will regret. +
  • Give freely without expectation of thanks or reciprocation! Giving and receiving are two unrelated concepts – giving is about you. Thanks and acknowledgement is all about the receiver (as is any reciprocity!)  I know that a perceived lack of gratitude (and acknowledgment) usually has nothing to do with me. +
  • Never stop learning.  I am learning that there is SOOOO much I don’t know that I don’t know. +
  • There is no one, true religion for all mankind +
  • Learn from your past (sometimes there are no lessons except how to avoid crap in the future) +
  • EVERYONE deserves respect no matter their age, creed, status, look, etc.  Be tolerant even if you do not accept their way of life – everyone has a right to live as they please without infringing on others. +
  • Don’t turn down an opportunity before it is presented. +
  • The internet is forever.Never write, post, text, tweet, or Facebook anything you would not be willing to say in public! +
  • You (and me) are whole, complete, and perfect just as we are. +
  • Be yourself!  Trying to be someone else for someone else sacrifices the great you and robs the world of your talents. +
  • There is nothing wrong with me! (and there never was.  Just because people in my past and present want me to change to SUIT THEM has nothing to do with me!) +
  • Having a boyfriend or significant other means NOTHING! I am beautiful, lovable and deserve love in this world, period. +
  • Never override intuition – anyone who says that “your perception is wrong” is delusional and emotionally unavailable.  (I lived this and now know better!) +
  • Not everyone you meet in the future is a clone of your past. Protect your heart. +
  • Be grateful for what you have! +

To my silent readers, do you have anything to add?

Have a great week and celebrate you!

Carol

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Keep your Hand up to Get Ahead…

18 Jun

There are more and more women dropping out of the IT workforce, and since the 80’s peak of 1/3 women in computer science, the statistics are at an all-time low of less than 20% of students being women in computer science programs.

In 2011, an all male team of university researchers published studies and held symposiums aimed to increase female participation in the technical engineering and computer science fields.  The answers are as complex as the questions – with no ready one-size-fits-all solutions.  Is it women not supporting women?  Is it a workplace and environment that does not allow diversity?  Is it an old-boys club that excludes women?  Do women have different needs?  It is all and none of these, but without work and interest to change the future, we will be destined to repeat the past.  Change starts with me and you… and I’ve got lots of ideas (hmmm… a book?)

Here’s a link to an interesting TED presentation on the topic – what do you think?

I LOVE the concept / quote from this video: People (especially Women) need to Keep Our Hands Up to Get Ahead!

(This was in reference to a story she tells where she told an audience she would take 2 more questions.  Once the two questions were posed and answered, most people put their hands down – but not all.  She then proceeded to take a few more questions from the persistent few who had kept their hands up.  Her advice is to Keep your Hand up to gain a step ahead.  Too often, women (especially!)  quit too early (and follow directions too readily) – just because it seems like the game is over!)

Watch and comment (please!)

Here’s the URL: http://www.ted.com/talks/sheryl_sandberg_why_we_have_too_few_women_leaders.html

Have a great week!

Carol

If YOU believe it, it is so…

10 Jun

All of our power of creation is invested in our belief, and because we believe it, that’s the way it is.
– don Miguel Ruiz

No truer words were ever spoken!

All one needs to do is to watch any elected politician (even if you do not agree with them), passionate preacher, evangelist, terrorist, judge, etc. to know passion does not lie.  What we believe to be true is the bedrock of our very foundation – and, even if such belief is based on total malarkey or fiction, if we believe it, it is so.  Passion and perception (in the absence of facts to the contrary) become reality.

What does this mean in the grand scheme of our lives?

It all comes down to another quote:

“Whether You Believe You Can, Or You Can’t, You Are Right
Henry Ford

My biggest learning in life to this point (I am at middle age) is that it is only your own opinion that matters in life.  (This is absolutely a polar opposite to how I was raised (and in my long-term now defunct marriage) where my opinion (and intuition) were secondary to others who “knew better” and would love me if I agreed with them.)

This is my three-part (big) piece of advice to anyone who will listen:

Trust YOUR instincts and your intuition first – no matter what others in your past (yesterday and before) told you to do! 

Love yourself for who you are (even if it means that others withhold their “love” from you.) 

If you realize that your intuition is dormant (it may have been squashed or never allowed to grow) – start today to listen to your higher being.

When others (whether they love you or not, and whether they are well-intentioned or not) cast judgment on your life..

or your behavior or your plans or your thoughts (heaven forbid!) – it is up to you and you alone to close the screen door and not allow such negative energy to enter your being.  Negative energy will always be a part of life, but it doesn’t need to be a part of you!

Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know… because you never had the chance (until now!)

Sometimes when you’ve grown up under the influence of others who insisted they knew more/better that we about what was best for us, you never realize that there is any other way.

If you were born into judgment, you learned to give away power and control early – maybe even before the age of reason. Why? Because it was easier to agree than fight. (In the typical “fight or flight” situation, if we are too young to fly, have nowhere to fly, and no way to win the fight without being rejected, we learn to override our intuition.) Then by the time we are four or five, we are already conditioned to believe that one choice (submit and agree) results in love, while others do not. We gain approval, acceptance and hopefully, love, when we agree with the dominating (and usually well-intentioned) mother, father, grandparent, or another.

I am probably a very slow learner, but up until six years ago (my divorce) I never realized this. I spent my life seeking a personal path that would please (or at least not raise the ire) of my husband, my parents, and often, emotionally abusive friends.  Because I am an independent thinker, an individualist, and a survivor, I faced a constant internal battle between my caged intuition (which did not agree with the martyr behavior of taking care of everyone else’s needs first) and keeping the peace (and being “loved”.)

How does Submission and People-Pleasing become a(n unhappy) Way of Life?

For me, submission began with a strict religious upbringing where one choice was possible – ever.  My parents would love me  if I followed their dogma, their interpretation of organized religion, their path in life. Opposition was considered an affront and rejected outright.  In my marriage, when there was disagreement, my spouse’s way of dealing with things was similar “your perception is wrong, that is not the way things are … and I can bring in witnesses who will prove me right.” End of discussion.)

For years, I sought approval (which equated to love and affection) by agreeing and acquiescing to “mandatory” church attendance, strict partisan beliefs, my spouse’s views and choices, and generally squashing down my intuition.  I was woefully unhappy, but felt that I was “loved.” I believed this all to be true, and therefore it was.

And I believed it was so, for so many years…

Looking back, I don’t know why it is remains difficult to forgive myself for being asleep — for the years where I overrode my intuition and higher power in exchange for feeling loved.  In the process of giving first to others and seeking to be loved, I neglected loving myself.  I believed then that I would never know love unless I put others first (even at my own expense.)  Thankfully, I could be myself in my business – and ultimately this freedom to be me led me to find a new path (and new beliefs).

Today I believe that the only authentic true-love (without conditions of any kind) can be attained through self-love. (Because I believe it, it is so!)

I believe the best choices for me come from my higher power and my intuition, not from others who purport to love me if I agree with them.  I also believe that inner peace, free from conflict, is the path to happiness (and I am happy!)

What do you believe (that might hold you back?)  Are your beliefs truly yours or are they beliefs you agreed to long ago as dictated by others?

Wake up to a New Life and New Beliefs!

My awakening, to the realization that I gave up my power and control to others, was life-changing.  While my road to authenticity and living with integrity is like climbing a mountain, (my daughter once told me after my divorce that to “reach the other side, you have to go through a lot of fire”) – I am grateful to finally have my intuition firing on all cylinders and directing my life.

As I continue to wake up even more to being under my own control (instead of the Stepford-like control of others) – life gets better. I believe in the power of the Royal We (me, myself and I), and… life is good!

What do you think?

(While I may not choose to allow your opinion to influence my life, I still like to hear how my readers think!)

Carol

Doubters anonymous…

9 Jun

When our word isn’t dissipated by doubt, the power of our word is even stronger.
– don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the power of Doubt, maybe it’s because I am learning that I am the only one who can ever make myself happy, and the pain of a narcissistic long-term relationship is moving further away.

Today, I realize that I am a whole, complete and perfect (okay, two out of three isn’t bad!) person who can do anything I set my dreams on (with confidence!), who deserves love and gives much to the world.

It wasn’t always like that, I lived with Doubt (I constantly questioned whether I was good enough, smart enough, lovable…) – all due to my own misgivings and “healthy doses of doubt and gentle correction” heaped on by those around me.  I was addicted to doubt!

“Doubt” used to be a frequent companion,

a hanger-on’er who came into my life in early childhood and who crept around making sure I would stop myself before trying new or challenging things.  (Somehow I managed to keep doubt at bay in my business, all the while he wreaked havoc in my personal life!)

I know that Doubt has emerged in great force in this economy – he plays increasingly larger parts in the lives of others I know – and these are good, solid, inspiring people who deserve success and great things.  Yet, Doubt has moved in taking up the real estate that Confidence deserves to own. 

(Aside:  as a recovering Doubt-addict, I know that instilling confidence and supporting others is an important step in their own Doubt-recovery!  Inspire confidence in others through the power of your (positive!) words.)

Get Past a Doubt-filled Past!

I know that in my past, “Doubt” was seldom alone – he was usually cheered on by a crowd who agreed that I would screw up whatever I might think to try. Doubt (and his supporters) never liked me for who I am, and that’s why I need to steer clear of him!

“Doubt” loved being best friends with my (harsh) inner critic, my parents, and my spouse – they would take turns playing “you need to change this” and “who do you think you are?”   “Doubt” crept around like he didn’t belong (he never did) but when he partnered with others, it was downright insidious. He was like a storm cloud always threatening rain!

In nature, we have the power of water and wind to erode, in people we allow doubt to sculpt us into wisps of  people immobilized with holes that doubt inflicts.   I believe that doubt is an addiction – that if it is left unchecked can render one addicted and damaged.

“We are born to do wonderful, innovative, passionate things with our life, and to live a happy life! We are born to be confident and find our way!  We are born to be surrounded by sunshine – it is our (confidence-inspired) destiny!” – Carol Dekkers

Doubt pours down on those possibilities and leaves us unmotivated, tired, and uninspired.  Some days it might seem like the sun will never come out.

If I can be a Doubt-Survivor, so can you!

I’ve overcome my doubt addiction through conscious work, and by neutralizing the negative doubt-mongering (but well-intentioned) people in my life (some I have de-friended entirely!)

While yesterday had room for Doubt, my future does not!  The work involved realizing that I was living without integrity – that is, I was saying things to myself that I would never say to a best friend. While I didn’t do a formal 12 step doubt-removal program,  Today I can proudly announce that I am in doubt recovery!

While we cannot control the seeds of doubt that others try to plant in our fertile minds, we can banish them from our mind’s garden – and nurture positive, inspiring affirmations that in time, will remove the power of doubt.  Confidence renders “Doubt” speechless.

You are intended to be… great!  So go out today and get started – you don’t have a heartbeat to wait.

Have a great week!

Carol

p.s., Send me a note if you’d like to know more about how I overcame doubt… it’s a journey of self-discovery and self-love!

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